Title: To Turn Full Circle
Author: Linda Mitchelmore
Publication date: 7 June, 2012
Publisher: Choc Lit
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Historical fiction / Romance
Age group: Young Adult
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Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
Life in Devon in 1909 is hard and unforgiving, especially for young Emma Le Goff, whose mother and brother die in curious circumstances, leaving her totally alone in the world. While she grieves, her callous landlord Reuben Jago claims her home and belongings. His son Seth is deeply attracted to Emma and sympathises with her desperate need to find out what really happened, but all his attempts to help only incur his father’s wrath.
When mysterious fisherman Matthew Caunter comes to Emma’s rescue, Seth is jealous at what he sees and seeks solace in another woman. However, he finds that forgetting Emma is not as easy as he hoped. Matthew is kind and charismatic, but handsome Seth is never far from Emma’s mind. Whatever twists and turns her life takes, it seems there is always something – or someone – missing. Can Seth persuade Emma that they can overcome their past?
Up until now, I haven’t really ventured into the world of historical fiction – I wasn’t really intrigued by these stories and I knew they wouldn’t be my cup of tea. But then I saw To Turn Full Circle and something changed. I genuinely liked the sound of this story, the story of a young girl with a difficult past, and decided that this novel would be a great way for me to branch out and to start my journey into unknown territory. And I have to say, it was definitely worth it.
What I loved about it the most is the fact that it appeals to such a wide audience. Based on the fact that the main character, Emma, is only 15 when the novel starts one would think it’s aimed at the young adult generation only. And how wrong I was in assuming this! To Turn Full Circle, I think, is definitely one of those books that all generations would enjoy – adult and young adult alike. There are no cheesy make-out sessions or anything else that would be too “offensive” for young readers and adults will no doubt find it a charming story.
Emma is a lovely narrator and main character and I really liked her. She’s still very young and naive at the beginning and she has a lot to learn but I loved the fact that she didn’t let go of her dreams and she was brave enough to stand up for herself. To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with good guys like Seth because I often find them almost “too good to be true”. I felt the same way about Seth but I really started to like him by the end. In a way he’s quite similar to Emma. They’ve both been through a lot but they do everything they can to forget the past and to achieve their dreams, to be happy. Matthew Caunter, however, was someone I loved from the start. He’s quite a mysterious and complex character who I hope to see more of in the sequel.
The only reason why I’m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because I didn’t find it unputdownable. It didn’t keep me up until 2 in the morning, holding my Kindle with white knuckles, not wanting to put it down. Having said that, it’s a beautiful romance which both the young adult and adult generation would adore. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I’d say To Turn Full Circle is Pride and Prejudice meets a modern Romeo and Juliet. The setting, the whole era and Emma herself reminded me of Jane Austen’s stories and their atmosphere, but at the same time the rivalry between the Jagos and Emma’s family and the forbidden love theme is like a modern version of Romeo and Juliet. It really is a great combination and fans of historical fiction are guaranteed to fall in love with it. It’s the first book in a trilogy so I’m really looking forward to seeing how Emma’s story continues.
“It had been struggle enough for Emma coming down the stairs, her knees stiff after weeks of lying in bed, her legs so thin she was afraid they wouldn’t carry her to the bottom step. She’d almost dropped her carpet bag. Mrs Shaw – the doctor’s wife – had fetched it for her from her home, Shingle Cottage, after Emma had asked her to because it contained her ‘treasures’ and she wanted them close by her.”